Personal watercraft (PWC) riders can threaten the safety of other waterway users when trying to impress onlookers, according to Transport Safety Victoria (TSV), following a blitz on rogue riders.

A recent crackdown by TSV involved extra Water Police patrols at St Kilda, Port Melbourne, Altona and Williamstown and on regional waterways such as Lake Eildon, Lake Nagambie, Waranga Basin and Greens Lake.

“Showing off to people with stunts and manoeuvres was definitely an issue with some PWC riders,” said Rachel Gualano, Deputy Director Operations at TSV.

“PWC operators were observed jumping wakes of other vessels and riding behind children being towed on biscuits. This irresponsible behaviour is a real concern because if the child fell off the biscuit, it would probably be into the path of the PWC,” Ms Gualano said.

During the recent crackdown, Water Police inspected 83 PWCs and issued 10 penalty infringement notices to PWC riders.

TSV and Water Police findings have underscored the value of compliance blitzes and education activities in promoting safety.

“We intend to resume the compliance blitzes at the start of summer,” Ms Gualano said.

TSV education officers will continue raising awareness of safety issues with riders and retailers through the off-season.

A small percentage of PWC riders have been observed giving others a bad name by roaring off from the shore at excessive speed and ignoring speed and distance rules so they could show off.

Riders must operate at a speed of 5 knots or less if they are within:

  • 50m of swimmers, other vessels and fixed or floating structures
  • 50m of the water’s edge on an inland waterway
  • 100m of “divers below” flags
  • 200m of the water’s edge on a coastal or enclosed waterways.